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Archive for June, 2012

State of Spa Marketing: Web-Centric Marketing Rising

Nearly 82 percent of spas agree that the Internet has become the most important and results-producing marketing channel for the spa industry, according to the recent State of Spa Marketing Survey, conducted by SpaFinder Research.

A little more than 43 percent of survey responders say their marketing focus and budget plans for 2012 for traditional advertising (newspaper, radio, etc.) and direct mail will “stay the same,” while 45.8 percent say search marketing (pay-per-click and search engine optimization) will “stay the same.” Marketing focus/budget plans for 2012 that will “increase somewhat” include other Internet channels (45.3 percent of survey takers), social media campaigns (44.1 percent) and public relations (37.1 percent).

Additional survey findings show:

  • 91.2 percent of survey takers say they use Facebook (4.3 percent say they don’t use it as of yet, but plan to); nearly 57 use Twitter (13.1 percent: not yet, but plan to); 71 percent say they sell gift certificates online (15.7 percent plan to); and 71.1 percent have partnerships with universal gift certificate companies (6.4 percent plan to). More than 65 percent say they use online reputation management, such as encouraging reviews (10 percent plan to).
  • Social media campaigns (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, etc.) “resulted in a modest improvement in customers/sales,” reported 44.4 percent of respondents.
  • 37.4 percent of those surveyed said their spa earmarks 1-3 percent of their yearly revenue for marketing, while 26.7 percent earmarks 4-6 percent.
  • Specific to resort/hotel spas only: 37.8 percent of resort/hotel spas say they plan to “somewhat” increase campaigns to attract local (day-visit) customers in 2012; 33.7 percent plan to “significantly” increase campaigns.
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2012 GSWS in Aspen Incites Innovation through Imagination from around the World

Global Spa and Wellness Summit 2012

The 2012 Global Spa and Wellness Summit wrapped up last week with a bang. Industry leaders gathered for four glorious days in beautiful Aspen, Colorado, at the world-renowned Aspen Institute to share ideas, reconnect with old friends, forge new connections and, most of all, learn new ways to innovate within the industry through the boundless limits of imagination.

As the spa and wellness industry come together as one throughout the world, this year’s Summit, which revolved around the theme of “Innovation through Imagination,” addressed the GSWS 2012need to work together to create change, not only in the industry on a global level, but also for the good of the earth and the people. Sessions covered topics ranging from wellness gaming, the importance of health coaching and how to make technology work for you to the world’s water crisis and how hotels and spas can get involved and the globally growing obesity epidemic and national health care issues.

Between thought-provoking discussions, engaging panels, delicious food and fun-filled nights, the feedback we’ve received from attendees has been tremendous. Many have commented on the top-notch speakers who presented at the Summit (which included the likes of innovation guru John Kao; Miraval CEO Philippe Bourguignon; the 17th U.S. Surgeon General and CEO of Canyon Ranch Health Dr. Richard Carmona; spa pioneer and founder of Rancho La Puerta Deborah Szekely; former president of Costa Rica Jose Maria Figueres-Olsen; Google’s Head of Industry and Retail Ted Souder; Six Senses Hotels and Spas CEO Sonu Shivdasani; Academy-Award nominee Mariel Hemingway, and many more!) and stated that this year’s event was indeed a meeting of leaders from around the world who are open to innovation through imagination and discussion of serious global issues.

The 2012 GSWS was truly an event full of ideas, and there was a plethora of information and to-do’s to take away from it. Until next year (2013 GSWS: INDIA!), here’s to inspiration, innovation and imagination, and the courage to realize your ideas and implement them to better our industry!

GSWS 2012
Read about all of the GSWS 2012 sessions here – more will be uploaded shortly! See below for specific posts.

2012 Global Spa & Wellness Summit Kicks Off with Cocktail Reception at the St. Regis Aspen Resort

Keynote speaker, Philippe Bourguignon ponders whether we should try to understand the world? Or re-imagine it?

Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper, Addresses GSWS

Ted Souder Gives Tips on How to Make Technology Work for You

Shelley Berc and Alejandro Fogel Present an Experiential Session on Jump Starting Your Creativity

Jose Maria Figueres-Olsen: Global Business at the Forefront of the Low Carbon Economy

Dr. Richard Carmona Speaks on the Pursuit of Global Health & Wellness: The Value Proposition of the Future

Student Challenge, Part 1: Cornell & Univ. of Houston Present Two New Spa Concepts

Student Challenge Part 2: Penn State & University of Denver Present Two Innovative Spas

Sanus Per Aquam…for All: Imagination Is for the Voice of the Daring

A Chat with Mariel Hemingway & Susie Ellis

Aspen Health Innovation Project Panel: What Would Most Transform Health Care? And How Does Spa/Wellness Best Fit In?

Dr. Elissa Epel on Telomeres, the Next Wellness Frontier

Innovation Guru John Kao Jams at Summit – Using Jazz, He Not Only Demystified Innovation – He Showed How to Practically Get it Done

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Spa Industry News Briefs

Spa Reopens in Royal Hideaway Playacar

Following an upgrade that included a new menu of treatments, the all-inclusive, adults-only Royal Hideaway Playacar Resort in Playa del Carmen has reopened its spa doors. To celebrate the reopening, the resort is offering a spa credit of $50 per person for guests staying three to four nights and a $100 credit on stays of five or more nights.

Iconic Miami Resort Bought by Trump Hotel Collection

It was announced Monday, June 11, that Miami’s iconic resort, Doral Golf Resort & Spa, was acquired by the Trump Hotel Collection. Doral Golf Resort & Spa is best known for its five championship golf courses, 700 guestrooms, ballrooms, meeting facilities and beautiful spa, all housed on its almost-800-acre grounds. The Trump Hotel Collection will invest $200 million into upgrades to the resort.

Six Senses Resorts to Manage the Spa at the Alpina Gstaad

Six Senses Resorts and the Aplina Gstaad, Switzerland, have signed a partnership deal to have Six Senses develop the hotel’s spa. The boutique hotel, slated to open in December 2012, will feature a state-of-the-art spa with five treatment rooms, a floatation room, a hammam, an Oriental room, a cave room and a kids’ spa, complete with a swimming pool, salt area and spa menu for children. Additional treatment rooms will be dedicated to specialist therapies such as Ayurveda, color therapy and colonic hydrotherapy.

Madame Zabre Spa Retreat Opens on Private Seychelles Island

Madam Zabre Spa Retreat, the most expensive villa in the Seychelles,  costing $15,000 per night, has opened on the privately owned Desroches Island. The 6,858-square-foot retreat can fit up to six adults. Amenities include three private swimming pools, a private butler, chef and “spa angel” available to guests upon request.

Other Industry News

Ritz-Carlton to Open First Property in Austria This Summer

Hilton Hawaiian Village Appoints Tracy Walker as General Manager

Danna Holck Named Vice President and GM for Turtle Bay Resort Oahu

Courtyard by Marriot Bali Partners with Hospital for Aftercare Programs

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8 Cool Ways Health Clubs are Thinking Outside the Box, Shrinking Waistlines

By David Roddenberry

Health club memberships in the U.S. have leveled out over the last 20-years while the obesity epidemic has ballooned. In light of this disparity, many health clubs are increasingly adopting unconventional programs to bolster their membership base and better motivate the marketplace to get fit, trim and healthy.

“Amid the growing rate of obesity in the U.S., health clubs are continually challenged to drive new memberships and inspire current members to visit their facilities for workouts with some regularity to get, and keep, them on a healthy track,” notes Kelli Calabrese, international fitness, nutrition and lifestyle specialist twice named “Personal Trainer of the Year.” “I applaud the health club community for integrating new, exciting and innovative ways to attract and engage members to keep their fitness lifestyle fresh, fun and frequent…and even profitable!”

Here are a few cool new programs now underway:

1. Whole-Life Training. Health club facilities are now looking beyond just the exercise component of fostering a healthy lifestyle. In addition to personal training staff, today’s progressive health clubs are boasting on-site nutritionists and other allied healthcare professionals like physical therapists and even psychologists. These value added services holistically address all areas of a member’s life that impact their overall well-being, health and happiness. Engaging and assisting members in this comprehensive way maximizes member results, retention and referrals.

2. Kicking Members Out. For outdoor fitness, that is. Some health clubs are utilizing their external real estate to promote fitness activities al fresco. Club owners are realizing that many people get bored with the indoor offerings—even depressed or deterred—so they are offering running and cycling clubs, parking lot boot camps and spin classes, and more.

3. Weight Loss Wagering. Diet contests and weight loss betting programs, like that offered by, are exploding in popularity as both individuals and employee groups from coast to coast “diet for dollars.” More than 4,500 health clubs nationwide now serve as “weigh in locations” for contest participants, with many opting to also purchase a club membership as they shed pounds with their eye on the $10,000 team prize. This financial weight loss incentive approach is so effective, Fortune 500 companies nationwide have integrated such program into their corporate wellness initiatives to benefit both employee groups and their own bottom line.

4. Clubs Go Retro. Nostalgia evokes emotion and emotion drives action. With this in mind throwback 80’s fitness classes, in which participants dress in period-inspired spandex and leg warmers and do aerobics to music by Michael Jackson, George Michael, and the like, are bringing the neon headband sporting, leotard-wearing enthusiasts to health clubs in droves. Originating in hipster ‘hoods like LA and NYC, this 80’s fitness craze is sweeping the nation, proving to be a fun, creative and, like, totally awesome way to attract new members – and keep current members coming back for more.

5. Social Media Stimulation. From small boutique gyms to large national chains, health clubs are tapping the social mediasphere in innovative ways to stay connected with current and prospective members. Informative and engaging Facebook fan pages rife with workout strategies, success stories and special product offers; up-to-the-minute Twitter announcements, training tips and topical tweet feeds; online virtual fitness coaching; un-lockable specials on Foursquare; VLOGs (video blogs) and a myriad of other social networking strategies are helping health club purveyors better connect with the marketplace—informing, motivating and helping them thwart those momentary chocolate cravings like never before.

6. Patriotism Personified. While military discounts are nothing new in the business landscape, full-scale, week-long national programs offering completely free benefits to any and all active, reserve and retired military members, and their families, throughout the U.S. is wonderfully above and beyond the norm. This is exactly what one large national change is doing, for five consecutive years having provided complimentary week-long club access to America’s extensive number of active, inactive and retired military personnel—and dependents—in observance of Veterans Day. This same sentiment-oriented national health club chain also celebrates “Active Aging Week” by offering free week-long workouts for older adults age 50 or above.

7. Club Crawl. In an effort to get members integrated to all areas of the health club and its services, at the time of registration some clubs are giving new members a card with goals to complete for a prize. The goals can include trying fitness classes, completing a personal training session, meeting certain staff members and using specific areas of the fitness center. This gives members the opportunity to experience all the club has to offer before getting pigeon-holed into only one or two areas like nautilus machines or heading right for the spin bike studio. The idea is that the more people the member meet and services they experience first hand, the more connected they will feel to the club and more likely they will be to try—or at least tell friends about—all of the club’s offerings.

8. Gamers Press Play! Video gamers take note: one private gym in Mountain View, California, Overtime Fitness Inc., has tailored its offerings to teenagers in a novel approach to address childhood obesity. This facility boasts an arcade filled with physical video games that require dancing, boxing, and jumping. Riders race against each other on stationary bikes networked to a server! Teen fitness has never been so fun – or effective at making health clubbing “cool!”

While our nation’s obesity epidemic was top-of-mind at this month’s ‘Weight of the Nation’ Conference in Washington D.C. sponsored by the CDC, much of the dialogue proffered nothing new. Even in the report released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) ‘Accelerating Process in Obesity Prevention’ cited strategies that, while sound, have been proposed in years past as obesity continued to run rampant. It’s time for fresh approaches, innovative thinking and even risk taking to trim America’s collective waistline. Novel health club programs can tactically and effectively address obesity in new and compelling ways on the front line.

David Roddenberry is co-founder of HealthyWage, (, the only company that pays Americans cash to lose weight while offering social and expert-based support, tools and resources, and goal-setting and tracking technologies to address our nation’s obesity epidemic and improve America’s collective health.

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